This article is for our fantastic Bay Marketing Co clients, but you can follow along even if you’re not a client, as long as you’re a WordPress user.
This article assumes you’re using the WordPress classic editor, not Gutenberg.
Please note that the layout of where you write your article (called a post in WordPress), might differ slightly from the one used for the purpose of this tutorial.
The boxes inside WordPress where you add your content are moveable. So if you can’t find something referred to in this article, use your browser’s built-in search function (in Chrome it’s CTRL + F) to find it.
In a nutshell, this is what you do when you add a new blog post.
- Add a title.
- Add a featured image.
- Add an excerpt.
- Add some text.
- Add one or more pictures.
- Choose the gallery option to form a beautiful layout for your pictures.
- Publish your post.
Log into your website
Your website’s admin dashboard is located at https://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. (Change yourwebsite.com to your website’s URL.)
If you visit that URL and you’re logged in from a previous session, you’ll go straight to your website’s admin dashboard. It’ll look something like the image below…
If you’re not logged in, you’re presented with a login form at https://yourwebsite.com/wp-login.php, where you must insert your username or email, as well as your password, after which you click the Log In button.
You can also reset your password on this screen if you’ve forgotten it.
Once you’re logged in, it’s time for the next step.
Start a new post
WordPress allows you to take some actions from more than one location inside the system.
For instance, you can add a new post (an article), from at least two places.
Through the toolbar
Your default WordPress install shows the top toolbar at all times, on the front facing website and in your admin dashboard. It shows even when you’re scrolling down a page, since it’s a sticky toolbar. The image below shows what it looks like.
To add a new post from the toolbar, click on the + New button.
You’ll notice that, if you hover over the + New button, a dropdown menu appears which lets you choose what you’d like to add. But just clicking directly on the + New button defaults to creating a new post.
Through the admin dashboard
If you’re logged into your admin dashboard, hover your mouse pointer over Posts in the left-hand sidebar.
Click on Add New in the sub-menu.
Activate the visual editor
WordPress’ classic editor lets you write in two ways: visual or text.
I used to use the text version exclusively, until I realised how much quicker the visual editor is.
To ensure your visual editor is active, just click the tab that reads Visual, at the top right hand corner of the editor. Check the image below.
Add a title
Underneath the heading that reads, Add a New Post, inside the box where it says, Enter title here, add a title for your article.
The title can be any length you wish, but keep it as short as necessary.
Save your work
Save your work as often as possible. Do this immediately after adding a title.
To save your progress, click the Save Draft button inside the Publish box, to the right of your main content box.
Although you may click this button as often as you think you need to, I’d advise you to click it after every edit.
Add your main body of content
The box where you add the main content isn’t marked, Main Content, or anything like that.
The following picture shows what it looks like.
And you have two display options. Below are the two different setups.
This is the default setting for the WordPress classic editor.
When you toggle the full screen button, it clears the screen of most of the elements surrounding your main content box, like the WordPress sidebar.
If it’s not enabled on your side and you’d like to try it, or prefer it to the traditional setup, here’s how to activate it.
How to activate
While you’re in the Post screen, click on the Screen Options button at the top right hand of the screen.
This drops down a box of options.
Check the box for the option, Enable full-height editor and distraction-free functionality.
Your WordPress editor is now in full-height mode, ready for distraction-free writing.
If (like me) you prefer the standard WordPress editor, make sure the full-height and distraction-free checkbox under Screen Options is not ticked.
To add text to your article, simply start typing inside the main content box.
To add a link to your text inside the main content box, highlight the text you want to turn into a link.
Click on the link icon above the main content box.
Insert the link into the box that pops open.
Click on the blue button with the arrow.
If you preview the article now, it’ll show the text linked.
Making it open in a new tab
To make the link open in a new tab, follow the steps above, but before you click the blue arrow box, click the gear icon.
Check the box that reads, Open link in a new tab.
If a visitor clicks on that link in your article, it’ll automatically open the destination in a new tab.
This is great for linking to other websites or documents you store off-site (such as on Google Drive), but don’t make your own pages open in a new tab. It’ll frustrate people.
To remove a link from your article, click once anywhere on the link. This pops open a box that displays the link.
Click on the “broken” link icon.
The link is now gone.
To add an image, click on the Add Media button.
A window pops open that lets you choose between uploading a new image, or choose from images already inside your media library.
Adding a new single image
To add a single style image, as opposed to a gallery, click on Upload Files. You can add more than one image, but they won’t display in a gallery style. (Read on to see how to create a gallery in your WordPress post.)
Then click on Select Files.
This pops open a box where you can choose an image, or more than one image, to import into your post.
Upon importing an image to your post, it’s also added to your media library.
Adding an image that’s already in the media library
Let’s upload an image to the library and place it inside a post.
In the admin dashboard’s left hand sidebar, click on Media.
Next to Media Library at the top of the page, click on Add New.
Click on Select Files.
This pops open a box which lets you choose an image, or more than one image, to import into your media library.
Let’s take a look at some WordPress image settings. Let’s add an image as a test and modify it.
I’ve downloaded an image from pixabay.com—which serves free images you may use for anything, even commercial purposes, no attribution required—and saved it to my desktop.
Let’s upload it to an article.
Inside the Edit Post window, where you’re constructing your article, click inside the main content box where you want your image to appear.
Click on Add Media.
Click on Upload Files.
Click on Select Files.
Click on the image you want to import.
Your image is now ready to be altered.
To make the image pop open in a lightbox effect when a reader clicks on it inside your article, do the following.
Click on the image to see an options box open.
Click on the pencil icon.
Next to Link To, click on the dropdown menu and choose Media File.
Click on the blue Update button at the bottom left of the open box.
Now, when someone reads your article and they click on that image , it pops open in a lightbox.
Floating an image
Floating an image refers to its alignment in relation to the text. If you float an image right, it’ll sit next to a block of text on the right hand side. Likewise, if you float it left, it’ll sit to the left of a block of text.
Please note: this only works well with larger blocks of text, since it allows the text to flow around the image. If you use only a single sentence, it might cockeye the layout slightly.
Let’s float an image to the right of a piece of text.
I’ve added a paragraph of text to the main content box.
With my cursor positioned inside the main content box, IN FRONT OF the sentence, I click on Add Media.
I select one of the sample images I uploaded earlier, but BEFORE I click the blue Insert into post button at the bottom right, I scroll down on the right hand side—below the heading, ATTACHMENT DETAILS, farther down, to settings below ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS.
The first thing I set is the image width, because it doesn’t make sense to float an image that’s full width.
So I click on the dropdown box for Size and choose thumbnail. Medium should work too.
In the Alignment box, I choose Right.
Then I click the blue Insert into post button.
At the top of the window, below the heading, Edit Post, a box pops open that reads, Post draft updated. Click on the Preview post link after that.
This opens the article in a new tab, where you’ll see the image floating next to the block of text.
Please note: your image insertion settings remain the way it was for the last image you inserted.
So if you insert an image, reduce the size and float it, and you want your next image to be full width and not floated, you’ll have to reset the changes under ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS.
Adding an image gallery
Sometimes it makes more sense to add a gallery of images to your article, as opposed to a single image.
Let’s create a gallery of five images inside a post using random images downloaded from Pixabay.
Click inside the main content box.
Click Add Media.
In the left hand panel, click on Create Gallery.
Click on Upload Files.
Click on Select Files.
Choose the images you want to upload. To choose more than one image, hold down the CTRL button on your keyboard (On Mac it’s the CMD button) and click on each image you want to upload.
Click the Open button.
Click the blue Create a new gallery button, bottom right.
In the next window you can add a caption for each image. This is a nice touch that’ll help your readers understand what a given image is about.
On the right hand side, under GALLERY SETTINGS, change the Link To setting to None.
Other settings include Random, Size and Type.
You can play around with the last three, but note that some might not take effect. Why, I don’t know. I’ve simply grown used to accepting that there are some limitations to the way WordPress allows you to present content. That being said, it’s still a powerful platform for getting the word out on your offer.
The image below shows what an image gallery looks like to someone viewing your article.
Add a featured image
The featured image pops up at the top of your article, either above your heading, or below, depending on how your article layout is set up.
It also pops up in Facebook, Twitter or other social media channels when someone shares your article. It’s a great way to lure people into clicking through to your website. (Because it’s much easier to sell to someone when they’re on your website, than when they’re swamped with junk on Facebook.)
To add a featured image, look for the box on the right hand side with the heading, Featured Image.
Click on Set featured image.
Choose an image to use as a featured image.
Click on the blue Set featured image button bottom right.
Once it’s inserted, it’ll show inside the same box where you clicked to add it.
Add an excerpt
An excerpt is displayed on your archive pages, or when you display a list of articles on your home page or elsewhere.
It acts as the lede to your article, and it’s an invaluable tool for drawing in people.
Before you add an excerpt, check if it’s active in your Edit Page screen.
To do so, click on the Screen Options button at the top right hand of the screen.
This drops down a box of options.
Make sure the box for this option, Excerpt, is checked.
Look for the excerpt box, which should now be visible somewhere below the main content box.
Write your excerpt inside the box.
Publish your work
Once your work’s done and you’ve left it to simmer, then checked it again, and again, it’s time to publish.
To publish your article, click the blue Publish button inside the Publish box to the right of your main content box.
Your article is now ready to be digested by humans and search engines. And if it’s good, it’ll have a 99% longer shelf-life than the average Facebook post (which has a 5 minute lifespan, according to statistics).
And that’s how you add an article to your WordPress website.
Please abuse this feature, since adding content to your website gives you a strong long game.
In future I’ll post an article on how to add an article using the WordPress mobile app. One of my clients uses this to successfully blog while he’s on the job. It’s a great way to ensure you don’t forget anything important while you’re out doing what you’re great at and want to write about it.
This article doesn’t touch on content structure, categories and tags. I’ll cover that at a later date. This article serves to get you going, so you can start working on your long-term goal of domination. That said, it’s a good idea to sit and work out a content strategy before you start writing.
But a wonky start’s better than no start at all.